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Watch the Timing: Being in the Pocket online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles

Timing: Being in the Pocket - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones.


I'd like to touch on a very important subject now, and that is time. I'm not talking about time in a watch or Time the magazine. I'm talking about time and feel within your playing, getting a groove going is very important. And you know, everyone needs to work on their time. And I remember when I was younger I was given erroneous information that it was the drummer's job to keep time, and so the rest of us felt free to have a bad time. It's not the drummer's job to keep time, it's everyone's. You've got to be aware of it, and one of the best things that I can do for you right now is make you aware of time. When someone does that, you suddenly become sensitive to it, you go back to listen to music that you used to listen to and see it from a different perspective.

One of the best things that happened to me is working with a metronome. I use this little tuner, with a built-in metronome. When I first started working with a metronome I felt imprisoned and chained up by it, and I couldn't get in a pocket with it, and that was because I wasn't used to playing that strong and rigid of a time. But once I got used to playing with a metronome, it set me free. I really enjoy playing with a metronome now. But, like all of us, I think you'll find when you first start doing it that the metronome slows down all of the time, but it's not, it's us speeding up. We've just got to make ourselves stop and be aware of what we're actually doing. Let me say that one of the best things to help you as a musician is to record yourself and have a listen, see what you sound like. It's a way of having you help yourself. Be honest and hear the things you know you need to work on. Time takes a while to develop, but it's part of your arsenal that you will need.